The Most Beautiful Villages on the Greek Islands

Streets of Plaka, Athens, Greece
Streets of Plaka, Athens, Greece | Photo by Despina Galani on Unsplash
Konstantina Pyrnokoki

Travel Writer

Some of the most popular islands in Greece, such as Santorini or Milos, are known for views of the Aegean Sea, exotic beaches and fashionable little shops along cobbled alleys. Yet the true beauty lies in the villages on these islands that are off the beaten track. Here’s our pick of the best.
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There are many small villages across the Greek islands, perched on hills or sitting by the water, that draw visitors with their traditional architecture, natural beauty and rich heritage. We’ve rounded up some of the best.

Apeiranthos, Naxos

The narrow streets of Apeiranthos, in Naxos

The Cycladic island of Naxos is home to many cute little towns, but the mountainous Apeiranthos has to be the most charming. Among the winding alleys are Byzantine churches and houses made of fine marble; picturesque squares, surrounded by sycamore trees, host traditional cafes and taverns, where you can taste some of the best food on the island. Local delicacies include graviera cheese and desserts such as melachrino, made with citrus fruits.

Volax, Tinos

Take a stroll through the tavernas and craft stalls of Volax, on Tinos

With its gorgeous beaches and whitewashed houses, Tinos, for the most part, looks like a classic Cycladic island. Yet the village of Volax, near Tinos Town, is different: it has granite boulders that give the landscape a lunar appearance and attract hikers who come to explore the area. According to mythology, they are the remains of a ferocious battle between the Giants and the Titans. On the blue doors of the houses, you will also find lyrics of romantic poems, painted by creative locals.

Pyrgi, Chios

Houses in Pyrgi are decorated with geometric patterns

Cobblestoned paths are your guide around this delightful village on Chios. Follow them and marvel at the work of art that is Pyrgi. The largest medieval village on Chios, it’s known as the Painted Village, because the façades of the houses and other buildings are adorned with detailed geometric patterns that are chiselled onto the white plaster, echoing the Italian technique of sgraffito and giving it the look of an intricate piece of embroidery.

Firostefani, Santorini

The quintessential view from Firostefani of the blue-domed church overlooking the Aegean

Probably the most Instagrammable on this list, Firostefani, on Santorini, offers magnificent views of the Aegean Sea. The village, whose name means “the crown of Fira”, is perched on the edge of a caldera above the Santorini capital, Fira Town. In the early evening, people gather to experience amazing sunsets that simply beg to be captured on camera. The pretty whitewashed houses and the churches with the blue domes will complete your top-notch selfie.

Fiskardo, Kefalonia

Yachts moored off the pretty harbour in Fiskardo, on Kefalonia

In the north of Kefalonia, near the island of Ithaca, the postcard-perfect Fiskardo is bound to captivate you with its little harbour and colourful 18th-century houses. The village is one of only a few that weren’t torn down after intense earthquakes hit Kefalonia in 1953. Innumerable boats and luxury yachts are moored in the harbour, which is lit up at night. Mooch around the shops lining the town’s narrow alleyways, and tuck into great seafood at the quaint fish taverns – Tassia is the most popular.

Yialos, Symi

The picturesque waterfront of Yialos, on Symi

As your ferry pulls into the quaint port town of Yialos, you’ll be greeted by the bright yellow neoclassical mansions that line the harbour – the Italians ruled the island a century ago and brought the architectural style with them. In the distance, opulent houses with tiled roofs and elegant wrought-iron balconies dot the hill leading towards the capital, Chorio. There’s an enchanting clock in the harbour that dates from 1881, and a stone bridge that connects the two sides of the port.

Klima, Milos

Klima, on Milos, is one of the most colourful fishing villages in Greece

The bright palette of colours that greet you at Klima, on the island of Milos, set the place apart: a row of two-storey, white houses with rainbow-coloured doors that the local fishermen once called home. These beautiful houses, called syrmata, are built into the rock, almost as a natural continuation of the unspoilt scenery. The ground floor is where boats are stored when the wind gets up, while the upper floors are where the fishermen once slept. Some of them are now available for rent during the summer. Can we start packing?

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